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Customer Care > China Guide > Chinese History

Chinese History:

Chinese civilization originated in various city-states along the Yellow River valley in the Neolithic era. Turtle shells with ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty have been carbon dated to as early as 1500 BCE. The origins of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy, developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045BCE to 256 BCE) that followed the Shang.

China has had the longest lasting dynasty and spans the period in which the written script evolved from ancient oracle script to the beginnings of modern Chinese writing.The feudal Zhou Dynasty eventually broke apart into individual city states, creating the Warring States period. In 221 BCE, Qin Shi Huang united the various warring kingdoms and created the first Chinese empire. Successive dynasties in Chinese history developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the Emperor of China to directly control the vast territories.

Movable Type Printing:

During the Sui Dynasty, printing was accomplished by means of knife-cut laterally reversed characters on wooden boards, paint ink applied to these, and then characters printed on paper. At that time, it was a very painstaking task to print a book, since the wooden board could be used only once and the boards were specially made for the printing of each book.
The difficulty was solved by a lettering worker Bi Sheng in the 11th century, who spent 40 years making type for the ChineseMovable Type Printing characters. He used lime cement as the raw material, molded into square columns. He carved a laterally reversed Chinese character on the bottom of each column, and then fired these in a furnace. These columns could be arranged according to the contents of the book to be printed, so the type could be reused unlimited times. This technique is the rudiment of modern printing. Wang Zheng, an official who lived in the Yuan Dynasty, invented and developed the wooden type and typesetting method respectively. A few years later, he invented metal type, which greatly improved the printing quality.

The technique was introduced to Japan during the Tang Dynasty and to Germany in the 15th century. This printing technology has helped the cultural and scientific development in Europe since the Renaissance.

 

Modern Times:

Republic of China (1912–1949)
On 1 January 1912, the Republic of China was established, meaning the end of the Qing Dynasty. Sun Yat-sen of the Kuomintang (the KMT or Nationalist Party) wasSun Yat-sen proclaimed provisional president of the republic. However, the presidency was later given to Yuan Shikai, a former Qing general, who had ensured the defection of the entire Beiyang Army from the Qing Empire to the revolution.
After Yuan Shikai's defeat as calling himself Emperor of China in 1916, China's regime became fragmented. Warlords in various regions exercised actual control over their respective territories. In the late 1920s, the Kuomintang, under Chiang Kai-shek, was able to reunify the country under its own control, moving the nation's capital to Nanking (modern day Nanjing) and implementing "political tutelage", an intermediate stage of political development outlined in Sun Yat-sen's program for transforming China into a modern, democratic state. Effectively, political tutelage meant one-party rule by the Kuomintang.
The Communist Party of China (CCP) led by Mao Zedong ,gained victory in the Chinese Civil War with the Kuomingtang. On 1 October 1949, the CCP established the People's Republic of China as a Socialist State.
 
People's Republic of China (1949–present)
After the Chinese Civil War, mainland China underwent a series of disruptive socioeconomic The Founding Ceremony of PRC in 1949movements starting in the late 1950s with the Great Leap Forward and continuing in the 1960s with the Cultural Revolution that left much of its education system and economy in shambles. With the death of its first generation Communist Party leaders such as Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai, the PRC began implementing a series of political and economic reforms advocated by Deng Xiaoping that eventually formed the foundation for mainland China's rapid economic development starting in the 1990s.
In 1997, Hong Kong was ceded to the PRC by the United Kingdom, and in 1999, Macau was handed over by Portugal.
China became more influential economically in the 1990s and 2000s and was beginning to be widely recognized. By 2006, China had become the world's fourth largest economy. At the same time, numerous social problems emerged and intensified. As President Jiang Zemin gradually retired from his position of power, "fourth-generation" leaders, led by President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, faced with increasing social unrest, attempted to steer the country towards a new direction. From the path of focusing solely on economic development, Hu and Wen placed focus on creating an overall balance under the idea of the Scientific Development Concept to create a harmonious society. In this process, there was an unprecedented shift in stance towards favoring rural development and farmers, as well as other generally populist policies. And China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics successfully in 2008. Now confronting the economic crisis, China is making its effort and is cooperating with other nations.

Confucianism:

Brief Introduction
The traditional Chinese culture has a long history and Confucianism basically occupies a backbone position. Confucianism has gone through various dynasties since Confucius initiated it, and has been the mainstream of Chinese ideology, politics and culture.
ConfucianismGenerally speaking, the development of Confucianism can be divided into three phases. The first phase of Confucianism is pre-Qin Confucianism. The second phase refers to that the natural science of the Song and Ming Dynasties, which is the Confucianism formed under the impact of foreign Indian Buddhism and native born Taoism. The Confucianism under the impact of western culture since modern times is the third phase.
In the first phase of Confucianism, the representatives are Confucius, Mencius and Xunzi, whose thoughts are dominant at the initial stage of Confucianism. During this period, Confucianism took shape. In the second phase Confucianism was carried forward. It plays a positive role in transforming social traditions. In the third phase, the country gained scientific development and was founded democratically on the premise of adhering to the traditional morals and spirit of Confucianism.
 

Confucius (551BC – 479BC) was a great thinker and educator in the period of the Spring and Autumn and Warring States and the founder of the Confucian School. The main literature representative of his thoughts is the Analects. The basic wisdom of Confucius can be embodied in the following six beliefs:
 The first one is "humanity" which is the core of the political thoughts of Confucius. It put forward the ways of how to conduct oneself and deal with relationships between people. Confucius regarded "humanity" as the highest principle, the standard and mode of conducting oneself, the object of which was to optimize human relationships.Confucius
The second one is "rite".  It has an interactive relationship with "humanity".
The third one is "neutrality", that is, "moderation", which requires people to follow “the doctrine of moderation”. Whatever happens, people should "take hold of their two extremes, determine the Mean, and employ it in his government of the people" This is a throughway of Confucianism and also then social philosophy.
The fourth one is "virtue" which mainly refers to "humanitarian rule" and "virtuous governing" in the strategies of managing state affairs and criticizes that "tyranny is fiercer than a tiger". This is the “kingly way" of Confucius and Confucianism.
The fifth one is "education”. Confucius put forward the educational thoughts of establishing private institution, educating without discrimination and teaching students in accordance of their aptitude.
The sixth one is "cultivation". Confucius contended that people should strengthen the cultivation of the individual mind, "self-command", and "the cultivation of one's morality" to enhance the consciousness of implementing humanity and virtue, and to cultivate and perfect and the ideal interpersonal relationship.
 
Famous Works
According to tradition, the teachings of Confucius are based on nine major texts:
Five Classics (Wujing)
 
Buddhism, an Indian religion, was developed from Hinduism. Siddhartha didn't like the beliefs of Hinduism, so he meditated under a tree for forty-nine days, hoping to reach enlightenment, and that was the start of Buddhism. His first preaching included the Four Noble Truths:
BuddhismLife is filled with suffering and sorrow;
The cause of all suffering is people's selfish desire for pleasure;
The way to end suffering is to end desires;
The way to overcome such desire and reach enlightenment is to follow the Eightfold path.
Although monks and nuns had to live a life of poverty, the majority of the population was laborers and craftsmen, due to the fact that Buddhism rejects the idea of the caste system.
 

Book of Songs (Shijing); Book of History (Shujing);  Book of Rites (Lijing); Book of Changes (Yijing); Spring and Autumn Annals (Chunjiu); Four Books (Sishu); Analects (Lunyu); Great Learning (Daxue); Doctrine of the Mean (Zhongyong); Book of Mencius (Mengzi)
 

Influence on China

Confucianism, existing in China for several thousand years, still has tremendous potential influence on all the aspects such as politics and economy in China. Confucian thoughts have been the most basic mainstream value of the Chinese people through the ages. The basic values of Confucian thoughts of "rite, justice, honesty, shame, humanity, love, loyalty and filial piety" are the basic rules of consciousness for the daily conduct of most Chinese people all the time. The courteous, friendly, gentle, honest, tolerant, earnest and industrious temperament of the Chinese nation has also gradually developed under the education of Confucianism.
 

A Comparison between Confucianism and Buddhism

Confucianism, founded by the Chinese philosopher Confucius, belongs to a kind of philosophy, while Buddhism, founded by Siddhartha Guatama, belongs to a kind of religion. There is a difference between religion and philosophy. A religion talks about death, the afterlife and god(s) while a philosophy only talks about what one should do in life.

 

ConfucianismConfucian ideas involved social order, harmony and a good government. Five relationships were included in Confucianism. They were:
Ruler and subject; Father and son; Husband and wife; Older and younger brothers; Friends.
Confucianism also includes filial piety, which is when children pay respect to their elders, parents, and ancestors. A bureaucracy, which is a trained civil service, was his idea of a government. To be in the government, you had to have a good education.
 
 

Ancient Systems:

Feudalism
Feudalism, in its most classic sense, refers to a Medieval European political system composed of a set of reciprocal legal and military obligations among the warrior nobility, revolving around the three key concepts of lords, vassals, and fiefs. Although derived from the Latin word feodum (fief), then in use, the term feudalism and the system it describes were not conceived of as a formal political system by the people living in the Medieval Period.
 
The subsequent dynasties, the Shang (16th-11th century BC) and the Western Zhou (11th century-770BC) saw further development of slave society. This era was followed by the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods (770BC-221BC), marking the transition from slave society to feudal society. Chinese history from the Zhou Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty is thus described as the feudal period.
 
The Zhou Dynasty can be seen as a true feudal system as it was in many respects very similar to the system used in Medieval Europe. Each lord was given a state/land, Zhou Kingand politics was strongly centerd around the noble households. In fact, the notion of "prime minister" in ancient Chinese came from the feudal time meaning the "chief housekeeper" or "butler" of the noble household. Each feudal state was governed independently with tax systems, currency and legal systems set by each individual household, but the nobles were required to pay regular homage to the Zhou Kings as an act of oath of fealty. In time of war the nobles were required to provide armed service to the King. Approaching the end of Zhou dynasty, the power of the King dwindled while the power of the nobles had risen. This resulted in what is known as the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods when the nobles fought each other constantly for supremacy. This had resulted in the claps of the noble ranking system, and during the late Warring States Period all major nobles had proclaimed them-selves the title of "Wang" (King).
 
The Wang Zheng of Qin (note that at the time the Bo of Qin was self-proclaimed as "Wang of Qin") eventually removed the Zhou household and defeated all other feudal lords and funded the first empire. To the horror of the people at the time, he completely abolished the feudal system in favor of the centrally governed imperial bureaucratic system had been used in China ever since the foundation of the republic in the 20th century. Noble titles including that of "Wang" were frequently used in the imperial periods, but their function were mostly honor titles that differed very much from that of the Zhou times.
Feudalism in 12th century England was among the better structured and established in Europe at the time. However, it could be structurally complex. Feudalism is the exchange of land for military service, thus everything was based on what was called the knight's fee, which was the amount of money and/or military service a fief was required to pay to support one knight. Thus, either a fief could provide the service of a knight, or an equivalent amount of money to allow a lord to hire a knight.

Among the complexities of feudal arrangements there existed no guarantee that contracts between lord and vassal would be honored, and feudal contracts saw littleLord and Vassal enforcement from those with greater authority. This often resulted in the wealthier and more powerful party taking advantage of the weaker. Such was (allegedly) the case of Hugh de Lusignan and his relations with his lord William V of Aquitaine. Between 1020 and 1025 Hugh wrote or possibly dictated a complaint against William and his vassals describing the unjust treatment he had received at the hands of both. Hugh describes a convoluted intermingling of loyalties that was characteristic of the period and instrumental in developing strain between nobles that resulted in competition for each other's land. According to Hugh's account William wronged him on numerous occasions, often to the benefit of William's vassals. Many of his properties suffered similar fates: seized by opponents and divided between them and William. William apparently neglected to send military aid to Hugh when necessary and dealt most unfairly in the exchange of hostages. Each time Hugh reclaimed one of his properties, William ordered him to return it to whoever had recently taken it from him. William broke multiple oaths in succession yet Hugh continued to put faith in his lord's word, to his own ruin.  
 
Influence
The use of the term "feudal" to describe a period in Chinese history was also common among Western historians of China of the 1950s and 1960s, but became increasingly rare after the 1970s. The current prevailing consensus among Western historians is that using the term "feudal" to describe Chinese history confuses more than it clarifies, as it assumes strong commonalities between Chinese and European history that may not have existed after the Qin Dynasty.
The Wang Zheng of Qin (note that at the time the Bo of Qin was self-proclaimed as "Wang of Qin") eventually removed the Zhou household and defeated all other feudal lords and funded the first empire. To the horror of the people at the time, he completely abolished the feudal system in favor of the centrally governed imperial bureaucratic system which had been used in China ever since the foundation of the republic in the 20th century. Noble titles including that of "Wang" were frequently used in the imperial periods, but their function was mostly honor titles that differed very much from that of the Zhou times.
The First Emperor of QinArguably the first emperor of Qin had accomplished in China what Napoleon Bonaparte had partially failed to do in Europe. And indeed, the King of Qin at the time was seen among the nobles as public enemy number one, and his abolishment of the feudal system was listed by scholars at the time among the ten "crimes against humanity" he had committed after the fall of the short-lived Qin empire. However the central bureaucratic system he had established had obvious attractions to future rulers of the Han Empire and it was there to stay for the next two millennia. 
 
Social Class
Social class refers to the hierarchical distinctions between individuals or groups in societies or cultures. Usually most societies have some notion of social class, but concretely defined social classes are not found in every known type of human society. Some traditional hunter-gatherer societies do not have social classes, often lack permanent leaders, and actively avoid dividing their members into hierarchical power structures. In these societies, individuals are able to do the same activities. Since there is little labor specialization and no food surpluses are produced, there is little necessity or even opportunity for classes to form and develop. The most basic class distinction is between the powerful and the powerless. People in social classes with greater power attempt to cement their own positions in society and maintain their ranking above the lower social classes in the social hierarchy. Social classes with a great deal of power are usually viewed as elites, at least within their own societies.  
 
Chinese
In pre-Confucian China, the feudal system divided the population into six classes. Four noble classes with the king at the top, followed by the dukes, then the great menFeudal System Classes and finally the scholars. Below the noble classes were commoners and slaves. Confucian doctrine later minimized the importance of the nobles (except the emperor), abolished great men and scholars as noble classes, and further divided commoner workers based on the perceived usefulness of their work. Scholars ranked the highest because the opportunity to conceive clear ideas in a state of leisure would lead them to wise laws. The scholars were mainly from the gentry, who owned land, and may have been educated and wealthy but had no aristocratic titles. Under them were the farmers, who produced necessary food, and the artisans who produced useful objects. Merchants ranked at the bottom because they did not actually produce anything, while soldiers were sometimes ranked even lower because of their perceived expendability. The Confucian model is notably different from the modern European view of social class, since merchants could attain great wealth without reaching the social status accorded to a poor farmer. In practice, a rich merchant might purchase land to reach farmer status, or even buy a good education for his heirs in the hopes that they would attain scholar status and go into the imperial civil service. The Chinese model was widely disseminated throughout East Asia.

Chinese Dynasties:

Chinese Dynasties
Chinese Dynasties really began from the Qin Dynasty (221BC) .The Qin Dynasty was considered to be the first Chinese dynasty for the reason that the Qin, for the first Qin Dynastytime, united the whole of China from the previously divided small kingdoms which we call the Spring and Autumn Periods. The Qin not only united the whole of China, which today is accepted as its biggest contribution to China, but also left some great constructions. Among these, the Great Wall and the Terra Cotta warriors are world-famous. But the dynasty only lasted for less than 30 years and when the founder, who was also the first emperor of the whole of Chinese history, died unexpectedly the empire collapsed after a few years. But this short dynasty greatly influenced China during the following 2000 years of history. For example, after the Qin dynasty, although China experienced all kinds of regimes, nearly all of them were copies of the Qin. This means, they governed the country just the way the Qin did.
After the Qin, the Han Dynasty (206BC—220AD) was established .The Han (not to be confused with Hun), is still today’s name for the majority of Chinese. The Han Dynasty endured being overthrown and then followed by its rebirth as the Dong Han, which is a name given by scholars for the convenience of distinguishing the early and the late period of the dynasty .One thing that may be of interest is that it was during the Han Dynasty that Buddhism was spread into China. Another great event is that during the Han Dynasty, Confucianism became the dominating philosophy and the cruel theory of Fa was relinquished by the rulers. This dynasty lasted for quite a long time and ended when the 3 Kingdoms Period (220--280) came into being.
The 3 kingdoms period was the first time that the whole country was again divided into small kingdoms. During this period, the whole nation was divided into 3 kingdoms: North, West and Southeast. These 3 small kingdoms were always at war. So after much warring, one of these small kingdoms finished this chaos and established the Jin Dynasty.
The Jin Dynasty (280—439), which was also divided into two periods, was not a stable one.
After the Jin, China was again in division and experienced dozens of short dynasties and small kingdoms .During this period (420—581), the economy of the north was badly damaged because of the invasions of the minorities and the quick change of rulers. So people escaped to the south which at last made the south exceed the north in terms of both population and wealth.
This continued for around 160 years when at last the Sui Dynasty was built.
The Sui (581—618) had only 2 emperors and lasted for 40 years. Nevertheless, the events in this dynasty again greatly influenced China. Of these the Bureaucratic Examinations opened the era when the ordinary people could also be absorbed into the government system through a series of examinations. Also, the famous Great Canal was also constructed in this dynasty.
Following the Sui Dynasty, came the Tang Dynasty. The Tang Dynasty (618—907) was the peak of feudalism in China .The Tang was established by a general of the previous Sui Dynasty. But the rulers of the Tang were quite the opposite of the Sui. On the one hand the emperors carefully analyzed the lessons from the Sui, but on the other hand they put their analysis into practice and administrated the nation with a more tolerant attitude.
 
Chronology of Dynasties
Dynasty Years
Three Sovereign Ones and the Five Emperors: before 2070 BC
Xià Dynasty:  1600 BC - 100 BC
Shang Dynasty: 1600 BC — 1046 BC
Western Zhou Dynasty: 1046 BC — 771 BC
Eastern Zhou Dynasty: 770 BC — 256 BC
Eastern Zhou Dynasty: Traditionally divided into Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period
Spring and Autumn Periods: 722 BC — 476 BC
Warring States Period: 475 BC — 221 BC
Qin Dynasty: 221 BC — 206 BC
Western Han Dynasty; 206 BC —9 AD
Xin Dynasty: 9AD — 23AD
Eastern Han Dynasty: 25AD — 220AD
Three Kingdoms: 220AD — 265AD
Western Jin Dynasty: 265AD — 317AD
Eastern Jin Dynasty: 317AD — 420AD
Southern and Northern Dynasties: 420AD — 589AD
Sui Dynasty: 581AD – 618AD
Tang Dynasty: 618AD — 907AD
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms: 907AD — 960AD
Northern Song Dynasty: 960AD — 1127AD
Southern Song Dynasty: 1127AD — 1279AD
Liao Dynasty: 916AD — 1125AD
Jin Dynasty: 1115AD — 1234AD
Yuan Dynasty: 1271AD — 1368AD
Ming Dynasty: 1368AD — 1644AD
Shun Dynasty: 1644AD
Qing Dynasty: 1644AD — 1912AD    

Chinese History Timeline
Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors
The Three Sovereigns, sometimes known as the Three August Ones, were said to be god-kings.
 
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty of China.
 
Shang Dynasty
Because Ji was overthrown for his selfish rule, the first ruler of the Shang Dynasty, Tang, started off with a strong, fairShang Dynasty Bronze Musical Instrument system of governing. The Shang Dynasty, also called the Yin Dynasty, began around 1600 BC and lasted until approximately 1100 BC.  After Emperor Tang, the Shang Dynasty experienced a period of consolidation and further development until the grandson of Tang, Tai Jia, took over and treated his people poorly, breaking his own laws. The Shang Dynasty was known for divination using oracle-bone inscriptions. Being superstitious, many daily events were discovered by supernatural means, including weather, health and crop growth. The bones were also used to record activities.
 
West Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was the longest lasting dynasty in ancient Chinese history. In the early times of the previous dynasty known as the Shang Dynasty, Zhou grew stronger and stronger in what is today’s Binxian County of Shanxi Province. When Ji and later Ji Yijiu took the governance, the area enjoyed prosperity. Soon the Shang Empire was overthrown in the Muye War and the Zhou Dynasty, later called West Zhou, was founded.
 
Spring and Autumn Periods
From 770 BC when the family members of the West Zhou Empire moved to Luoyi in the first ruling year of Pingwang Emperor to the 44th ruling year of Jingwang Emperor in 476 BC, the history in this period generally coincides with what was recorded (from 772 BC to 481 BC) in Spring and Autumn Annals emended by Confucius. Therefore history in this period is known as Spring and Autumn.
 
Warring States
Warring States refers to the historical period when the seven states were fighting with each other. It was an era of turmoil. During the Warring States period, the seven fighting states were in fact only the larger ones among all the states. There were still smaller states including Zhou, Lu, Wei, and Zheng, and many ethnic groups such as Hun and Donghu in the north, Baiyue in the south, and Bashu in the southwest. But later they were gradually conquered and annexed by those larger states.


Qin Dynasty
After the unification of China Proper by Ying Zheng, the first emperor of the Qin Dynasty, the system of fiefdom was abolished. A new system of Prefecture and County was proposed by Li Si, a Chief of Councilor in the Qin Dynasty. Under the new system, the power of positioning officials was concentrated in the central empire. This helped to overcome the division of power, and to avoid the similar turmoil as that in Spring and Autumn. It adopted an assessment system, the operation of which was similar to today's annual report by officials. Furthermore, the Qin Dynasty standardized the form of writing and measurement, largely facilitating the development of social economy and culture. However, the practice of unifying all ideas, putting to death many dissenting Confucian scholars, as well as confiscating and burning their books posed serious destruction to human civilization, inhibited the development of various ideas, and gave an and end to the booming condition of "Hundred Schools of thought contended". Many emperors of later dynasties followed the similar practices as those of Ying Zheng. That largely blocked the development of ancient ideas. In order to defeat the possible invasion of Hun, the then emperor of the Qin Dynasty ordered the completion of the Great Wall on the basis of what had been built up by the Yan and Zhao Empires.
 
Western Han Dynasty
The Western Han Dynasty is the first stage of the Han Dynasty, lasting form 207 BC to 25 BC. In the whole Han Dynasty, the Western Han was more prosperous than other periods. Thanks to the Enlightened Governance during the reign of Emperor Wen Di and Jing Di and Rehabilitation Policy by Emperor Wu Di, the development of politics, economy, and culture entered a boom in this stage.
 
Eastern Han Dynasty
Compared with that of Western Dynasty, the Eastern Han Dynasty was more tyrranical. Guangwu Di, the then emperor, conducted reforms on governance and distributed Eastern Han Dynastymore power to the Department of State Affairs. Diplomacy in the EasternHan Dynasty reached long term development. Ban Chao, a famous general, managed to persuade more than 50 countries in the west to submit to the empire of the Eastern Han Dynasty and send their hostages to worship the then emperor. At the same time, an ambassador called Gan Ying was assigned by Ban Chao to visit the Ancient Roman Empire, but unfortunately was cheated by an Arab on the road so he only reached the Mediterranean instead of his destination.

 

Three Kingdoms Period
At the end of Eastern Han Dynasty, the empire was seriously shaken by the Yellow Turban’s Uprising led by Zhang Jiao. Divisions of power in different places gradually broke away from the central empire and became local dominions. The three kingdoms came into being in such a situation and they were respectively Wei, Shu, and Wu.

Eastern Jin Dynasty
After the Western Jin Dynasty, Sima Shi founded a new regime known as the Eastern Jin Dynasty to the south of Yangtze River. In more than 130 years from Emperor Liu Yuan to the unification of North China, various ethnic groups in the ranks of nobles and bureaucratic landlords founded their own regimes. It was the period of Sixteen States in history.
 
The Southern and Northern Dynasties
During the Southern and Northern Dynasties, the economy in the south was more developed than that in other parts. That was because a large population migrated to the south to avoid the turmoil of war in the north. Therefore the labor force in the south was largely strengthened together with advanced technologies in production. It greatly promoted the growth of local economy and gave birth to many developed economic areas such as Yangzhou.

 

Tang Dynasty
The whole Tang Dynasty comprised of two stages: the early stage and the late stage. With the An-shi Rebellion as theTang Dynasty watershed, the early stage enjoyed prosperity while the late stage was in decline. It was Emperor Gao Zu who founded the empire, and Li Shi Min, the Tai Zong Emperor, who unified the whole of China through a ten year expedition. After the Palace Coup at Xuanwu Gate, Li Shimin ascended the throne and led feudal China into an unprecedented period of prosperity and peace. There was the famous Enlightened Administration in the Zhenguan Reign under Emperor Tai Zong of the Tang Dynasty during which politics, economy, and culture had achieved rapid progress and ranked first in the world. Later times witnessed another ruling period of stability and prosperity, and that was the Enlightened Administration in the Kaiyuan Reign under Emperor Xuan Zong by Emperor Xuan Zong. The country again boasted a strong capacity of national defense and the rich spiritual and material life of its people. Unfortunately, there happened the An-shi Rebellion, leading the Tang Dynasty to degradation. In the late stage of the Tang Dynasty, the political life of the country fell into turmoil. There were fights among eunuchs and divisions of power. Revolts of peasants broke out continuously, including the Uprising led by Huang Chao against the rule of Tang Empire. Zhu Wen, one of leaders of that uprising, later surrendered to the emperor of then Tang regime and finally overthrew it by crowning himself the new emperor. He founded the first dynasty in the period of Five Dynasties and Ten States- the Late Liang Dynasty.
 
Five Dynasties and Ten States
The period of the Five Dynasties and Ten States was a time of chaos. There were cruel emperors, irresponsible officials, heavy taxes, as well as fights and wars all through the years. 
The Song Dynasty covered a longer time than the Tang Dynasty but exerted less influence than the Tang Dynasty. In fact, the Song Dynasty was composed of two periods: the Northern Song Dynasty and the Southern Song Dynasty. The former referred to the ruling and confronting years of Liao, Xia, and Jin, while the latter was the declining period of the empire.
The Northern Song Dynasty achieved long-term development in terms of domestic economy, foreign trade, and culture after the unification of North China. There were also Wang Anshi Reforms and New Policies proposed by Fan Zhongyan in the ruling year of Emperor Qing Li, hoping to improve the governance of the then empire. Although they failed to guarantee the long time prosperity of the Northern Song Dynasty, they successfully solved some social contradictions. However, insurgences of Fang La and Song Jiang respectively in the south and north reflected that domestic conflicts and contradictions were deepening.
When the Northern Song Dynasty was overthrown by Jin, the Southern Song Dynasty decided to settle to the south of the Yangtze River rather than unifying the north. The northern expedition by Yue Fei, a great general and master of war, was considered as a measure of consolidating the rule of the empire. The corrupted ideas and misleading policies of Jia Sidao hastened the ruin of the Southern Dynasty. Although there were upright and patriotic officials such as Wen Tianxiang who made vigorous efforts to improve the situation, the decline of the dynasty failed to be held up. The great poem of Wen Tianxiang, which can be interpreted as "Everyone must die, but let me leave a loyal heart shining in the pages of history", expressed the complicated emotions and sorrows of valiants in that period.
 
Yuan Dynasty
China was unified for the second time, laying the foundation for long term stability and unification in the Qing Dynasty. Economy and culture achieved rapid development in the Yuan Dynasty. Today’s Hui Nationality came into being at the same period. The empire of Yuan boasted a huge land area, which was the primary form of the territory of China today
The Yuan Dynasty can be divided into three stages: the early, the mid, and the late stage. The early stage began from the ruling years of Kublai Khan to that of Tiemu'er. The Yuan Empire in this stage followed the system of laws and regulations of the Han Dynasty and invented various policies on politics, economy, and culture. The early stage was the demonstration of progress. However, starting from the mid stage, the Yuan Dynasty went into decline. There were intense social conflicts, disputes for imperial power, and frequent insurgences of peasants all over the country. The Ying Zong Reform in this stage had little effect. It was just like a flash in the pan, unable to save the empire from decline. Finally the reform failed to achieve its target and its initiator, Ying Zong, died an unnatural death. From Emperor Ming Zong to Emperor Shun Di was the late stage of the Yuan Dynasty. The continuous break out of peasant insurgences hastened the ruin of the Yuan Regime. Later Zhu Yuanzhang became the peasant leader, cleared away other separatist military commissioner regimes, and founded the new dynasty— the Ming Dynasty. This was the end of the Yuan Dynasty.
 
Ming Dynasty
Zhu Yuanzhang, Emperor Tai Zu of the Ming Dynasty, carried out reforms on various social aspects such as politics and military affairs. He won back the right of making Ming Dynastydecisions on political, military, and judicatory affairs into his hands. Therefore, the concentration of state power reached an unprecedented level which was inherited of course by the Qing Dynasty. Economic development in the early period of the Ming Dynasty recovered rapidly and soon reached its most advanced level in history. Zhu Yuanzhang therefore was remembered as an intelligent and enlightened emperor as was Emperor Wu Di in the Han Dynasty and Emperor Tai Zong in the Tang Dynasty, in feudal times.
The booming period of the Ming Dynasty happened in the ruling years of Yong Le, Emperor Cheng Zu. During these times, Admiral Zheng established diplomatic relations with the neighboring nations, and thus facilitated economic and cultural exchanges them.
However, due to eunuch tyranny, the Ming Dynasty began to decline after Emperor Ying Zong ascended the throne. The society suffered a lot from the corrupt administration of irresponsible officials and heavy taxes. Peasant insurgences broke out here and there, and national defense was very weak. In the Tumu Fortress War, Ying Zong was captured. Although he was released later, it clearly reflected the empire was in crisis. When Emperor Jia Jing ascended the throne, he appointed Zhang Ju to conduct a national reform involving politics, economy, and military force. The situation turned better for a period of time, but the cruel tyranny of Wei Zhongxian accelerated the dying out of the Ming Dynasty. At the same time, the Nuzhen of the Kingdom of Jin in Northeast China grew strong. It swept south, and overthrew the Northern Song Dynasty when the late Ming Dynasty was deeply weakened by peasant uprisings. Emperor Chong Zhen of the Ming Regime finally hung himself on Meishan Mountain near Beijing.
 
Qing Dynasty
The Qing Dynasty was reduced to a semi-colonized and semi-feudal society after the first Opium War. Normally the history of the Qing Dynasty is divided into two stages.
The political system of the Qing Dynasty was basically inherited from the Ming Dynasty. But the central department for government affairs was the Grand Secretariat with the Chief Secretary functioning as the Grand Councilor. Six Boards were the executive organ. Later the Grand Minister of State in Privy Council received the same power of the Grand Secretariat. The Privy Council was very efficient; it reflected that the concentrated state power under emperor autarchy was strengthened.
The Qing Dynasty reached the zenith of its power during the reigns of emperors Kang Xi, Yong Zheng and Qian Long. That period was reputed as the Booing Times of Emperor Kang Xi during which Taiwan Island was returned to the Chinese motherland and rebellions were successfully pacified. Its territory was extensive and production boomed.
In the ruling period of Emperor Qian Long in the late Qing Dynasty, social contradictions and conflicts escalated together with continuous peasant uprisings. The serious malpractice of corruption by He Shen, the Grand Councilor at late the Qing Dynasty, was an epitome of imperial administration. That was the major cause to the failure of Opium War.

Origin of Huang Di:

Yan Di (abbreviated Yan) and Huang Di (abbreviated Huang), two emperors in ancient Chinese legends, are said to be the earliest ancestors of the Chinese nation. Both of them belong to the legendary myths of 5 Emperors(Originating from  "San Huang Wu Di " in Chinese). All the Chinese, whether they live in the mainland or in Taiwan, or in Hong Kong and Macao, or in other countries, regard themselves as the descendants of Yan and Huang. Sometimes, the term "Yan Huang Zi Sun" or "Descendants of Yan and Huang" is used to mean "The Chinese Nation".
It was said that Huangdi  was the chieftain of the tribe-alliance in the region of Yellow river.The origin of the term  "Yan Huang Zi Sun" is closely related to ancient Hebe. It is said that over 4,000 years ago there lived along the Changjiang River (the Yangtze River) and Huanghe River (the Yellow River) valleys many clan tribes. The Huang, Yan and Chiyou were the most famous among them. The Huang tribe lived first in the northwestern part of China (now Shaanxi Province), then moved eastward, and remained at last in the mountain valleys in present-day Zhuolu County, Hebei Province. Still, they led a nomadic life. The Yan tribe lived in an area from the Weihe River valley to the middle reaches of the Huanghe River. The Chiyou tribe, also known as "Jiuli" nationality, lived in the eastern part of China (now the area of Shandong and Henan provinces). In their long years of communications, big wars between the three tribes broke out several times in the northern part of today's Hebei.

Huang Di
After the Yan tribe moved from the Weihe River valley to the middle reaches of the Huanghe River, long-drawn-out conflicts between the Yan and Chiyou tribes began. Defeated by the Chiyou tribe, the Yan tribe fled to Zhuolu, Hebei and joined the Huang tribe. Afterwards, the Yan and Huang tribes fought shoulder to shoulder in a big battle against the Chiyou tribe in Zhuolu. The Chiyou tribe was defeated, and Chiyou himself was killed by the victor, the Huang tribe. This is the well-known "Zhuolu Battle" recorded in Chinese history books.
Huang, chief of the Huang tribe, took measures to pacify the members from the Chiyou tribe, so other Chiyou members in the north came and joined the Huang tribe. Hearing that Chiyou had been killed, other tribes came to admire Huang and supported him as emperor. Afterwards, Huang set up his capital in Zhuolu.
After defeating Chiyou, the Yan tribe, with a view to obtaining hegemony, began a full-scale war against the Huang tribe. The war was fought at Banquan (now Huailai County bordering Zhuolu, Hebei). The Yan, however, failed and finally yielded to the Huang tribe. Later on, their descendants moved southward from Hebei to the Huanghe River valley and settled down in the Central Plains. For a long time they lived, multiplied and mixed together, and became the ancient inhabitants in the area of the Central Plains of China. They laid the historical foundation of the Huaxia nationality. In the long process of history, the Huang tribe was comparatively strong and developed a fairly advanced civilization, so many inventions and creations made by the laboring people living in primitive society were marked in Huang's name. Thus, Huang became the representative of the civilization of the Central Plains. As the Huang tribe developed gradually in later times, those inhabitants living in the Central Plains who were from different ancestors took themselves to be the descendants of Huang. Since the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 B. C.), these inhabitants had claimed to be the Huaxia nationality, which was renamed the Han nationality in the Han Dynasty. From then on, all people from the Han nationality worshipped Huang as their own ancestor and claimed to be the "Descendants of Yan and Huang".

Compass:

The Chinese compass was invented in ancient China sometime before the 2nd century, being used for navigation by the 11th century. The dry compass was invented in medieval Europe around 1300. It was supplanted in the early 20th century by the liquid-filled magnetic compass.

In pre-Qin times the Chinese had already learned  the knowledge of geomagnetism. People called the magnet as the "KindCompass Stone" which meant "a caring mother so loved by her children". If a piece of stone has a magnetic force, it is a “kind stone”. During the Warring States Period, the first compass appeared, which was made on a piece of load. The stone was shaped like a spoon with a circular base. The magnet was placed on a flat and smooth surface. Though it could move very freely in a circular motion, it had its disadvantages. The magnetic force in the loadstone would be decreased due to the intense heat during molding, therefore, the accuracy of the apparatus was questionable.

Later, the Chinese began to implement an artificial magnetization technique, making a piece of steel become a magnet. Being put in a position that was parallel to the earth’s meridian, the burned piece of steel was very active and eventually positioned its direction according to the earth’s magnetic field. This artificial magnetization technique was a great breakthrough in making the compass. Another method was to magnetize the steel needle by friction with a piece of strong magnet.

In the Mediterranean, the introduction of the compass, at first only known as a magnetized pointer floating in a bowl of water went hand in hand with improvements in dead-reckoning methods, and the development of Portolan charts, leading to more navigation during winter months in the second half of the 13th century. While the practice from ancient times had been to curtail sea travel between October and April, due in part to the lack of dependable clear skies during the Mediterranean winter, by around 1290 the sailing season was able to start in late January or February, and end in December. The additional few months this gave were of considerable economic importance. For instance, it enabled Venetian convoys to make two round trips a year to the Levant, instead of one.

Mao Zedong:

Mao Zedong (1893-1976), styled Run Zhi and with a literal name Zi Ren, was born into a family of peasants in Xiangtan in Hunan Province on December 26, 1893. HeMao_Zedong received his education at No. 1 Normal School in Changsha City in his early life. When he grew up, he devoted himself to revolutionary activities, believed in Marxism-Leninism, and started to introduce it among the Chinese people. In 1921, Mao Zedong became one of the founders of the Communist Party of China. Later he was elected successively Chairman of the Central Committee of the CPC, Chairman of the Central Military Committee, and Chairman of the People's Republic of China. Besides dealing with political and military affairs, Mao Zedong was very interested in poetry and calligraphy, and very industrious in practicing them. The great works of Mao Zedong include five volumes of Mao Zedong Florilegium, Analogy of Mao Zedong's Scripts, Analogy of Mao Zedong's Epigraphs, Collections of Poetry and Lyric Scripts of Mao Zedong, and Analogy of Mao Zedong's Poems and Lyrics.    
 
Starting in 1951, Mao initiated two successive movements in an effort to rid urban areas of corruption, by targeting wealthy capitalists and political opponents, known as the three-anti/five-anti campaigns. Following his consolidation of power, Mao launched the First Five-Year Plan (1953-1958). The plan aimed to end Chinese dependence upon agriculture in order to become a world power. The success of the First Five Year Plan was to encourage Mao to instigate the Second Five Year Plan, the Great Leap Forward, in 1958. Mao also launched a phase of rapid collectivization. The CPC introduced price controls as well as a Chinese character simplification aimed at increasing literacy. Land was taken from landlords and wealthier peasants and given to poorer peasants. Large scale industrialization projects were also undertaken. 
 
Cultural Revolution
Mao launched the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Under the pretext that certain liberal "bourgeois" elements of society, labeled as class enemies, continued to threaten the socialist framework under the existing dictatorship of the proletariat, the idea that a Cultural Revolution had to continue after armed struggle allowed Mao to circumventCultural Revolution Poster the Communist hierarchy by giving power directly to the Red Guards, groups of young people, often teenagers, who set up their own tribunals. Chaos reigned over the country, and millions were prosecuted, including a famous philosopher, Chen Yuen. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao closed the schools in China and the young intellectuals living in cities were ordered to the countryside. They were forced to manufacture weapons for the Red Army. The Revolution led to the destruction of much of China's cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese citizens, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country. Millions of lives were ruined during this period, as the Cultural Revolution pierced into every part of Chinese life, depicted by such Chinese films as To Live, The Blue Kite and Farewell My Concubine. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, perished in the violence of the Cultural Revolution. When Mao was informed of such losses, particularly that people had been driven to suicide, he blithely commented: "People who try to commit suicide — don't attempt to save them! China is such a populous nation. It is not as if we cannot do without a few people." In 1969, Mao declared the Cultural Revolution to be over.
 
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong
The Chairman Mao Memorial Hall, commonly known as the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, or the Mao Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China from 1943 and the chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China from 1945 until his death. This highly popular attraction is located in the middle of Tiananmen Square, in Beijing, the capital of China. On this site had previously stood the Gate of China, the southern (main) gate of the Imperial City during the Ming and Qing dynasties. People line up for hundreds of yards every day to see the former chairman, many paying tribute to him with flowers that can be rented at the entrance on the north side.
Although the embalming of the body was solved by learning the Soviet trade from Vietnam, displaying the body proved a more difficult problem to solve. Because the crystal coffin for Ho Chi Minh was directly provided by the USSR, Vietnam could not pass on the necessary expertise to China. As a result, China was forced to develop the know-how indigenously. This proved to be a much greater task with huge difficulties.
 
History of China's National Day
On October 1st in 1949 the Chinese people, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, declared victory in the War of Liberation against the Nationalist fThe Founding Ceremony of PRC on October 1st in 1949orces of Chiang Kai Shek. The grand ceremony for the founding of the People's Republic of China was held on this day in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central People's Government, solemnly declared the founding of the P.R.C. at the ceremony and raised the first national flag of China himself. 300,000 soldiers and people gathered in the square for the grand parade and procession. October 1st is the anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 and is celebrated as China’s National Holiday. An important occasion, the holiday is celebrated all over the People's Republic of China.

Chinese Taoism:

During the Spring and Autumn (770BC-476BC) and Warring States (475BC -221BC) period (also known as the Eastern Zhou Dynasty), Chinese society went through aEight Diagram of Taoism remarkably liberal period of cultural and intellectual openness in which a "Hundred Schools of Thought" (chu-tzu pai-chia, or "all philosophers hundred schools") was encouraged. It was during this period that Taoism, Confucianism, Mohism and Legalism (Fa-chia, or "School of law"), the four main schools of philosophical thought at the time, emerged. They exerted a profound influence on Chinese culture that would reach far into the future. In 550BC, in the middle of the Hundred Schools of Thought era, Lao-tzu wrote the Tao-Te Ching, thus founding Taoism. But the Taoism of the period was far removed from the later, more codified Taoism of Zhang Daoling and others. Still, Taoism pays homage to Lao-tzu as the founder of Chinese Taoism and continues to address him respectfully as Senior Lord Taishang.
 
Scripture
Tao Te Ching
The Tao Te Ching, or Daodejing, is widely considered to be the most influential Taoist text. It is a foundational scripture of central importance in Taoism. It has been used as a ritual text throughout the history of religious Taoism. However, the precise date that it was written is the subject of debate: there are those who put it anywhere from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.
Zhuangzi
The Zhuangzi was named after its author, who also appears as a character in the book's narrative. It is more in the form of a collection of stories than the short aphorisms and maxims of the Tao Te Ching. Also among the cast of characters in the Zhuangzi's stories is Laozi of the Tao Te Ching, as well as Confucius.
Daozang
The Daozang (Treasury of Tao) is sometimes referred to as the Taoist canon. It was originally compiled during the Jin, Tang, and Song dynasties. The version surviving today was published during the Ming dynasty. The Ming Daozang includes almost 1500 texts. The Zhen ("real" or "truth") grotto includes the Shangqing texts.
 
Influence
The number of people practicing Chinese folk religion is estimated to be just under four hundred million. Most Chinese people and many others have been influenced in Chinese Taoismsome way by Taoist tradition. Estimates for the number of Taoists worldwide range from twenty to over fifty million. Geographically, Taoism flourishes best in regions populated by Chinese people: mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, and various Chinese diaspora communities. Taoist literature and art has influenced the cultures of Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. Organized Taoism seems not to have attracted a large non-Chinese following, except in Korea and Vietnam, until modern times. In Taiwan 7.5 million people (33% of the population) identify themselves as Taoists. In Singapore, 8.5% of the population identify themselves as Taoist. There are also small numbers of Taoists in the Western world.
 
Relations with Other Religions and Philosophies
Early Taoist texts reject the basic assumptions of Confucianism which relied on rituals and order, in favour of the examples of "wild" nature and individualism. Historical Taoists challenged conventional morality, while Confucians considered society debased and in need of strong ethical guidance.
The entry of Buddhism into China was marked by interaction and syncretism, with Taoism in particular. Originally seen as a kind of "foreign Taoism", Buddhism's scriptures were translated into Chinese using the Taoist vocabulary. Chan Buddhism was particularly modified by Taoism, integrating distrust of scripture, text and even language, as well as the Taoist views of embracing "this life", dedicated practice and the "every-moment". Taoism incorporated Buddhist elements during the Tang period, such as monasteries, vegetarianism, prohibition of alcohol, the doctrine of emptiness, and collecting scripture in tripartite organisation.
Ideological and political rivals for centuries, Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism deeply influenced one another. They also share some similar values, with all three embracing a humanist philosophy emphasizing moral behavior and human perfection. In time, most Chinese people identified to some extent with all three traditions simultaneously. This became institutionalized when aspects of the three schools were synthesized in the Neo-Confucian school.

 

Qin Shi Huangdi:

Qin Shi HuangdiQin Shi Huangdi: Ancestral name: Ying    Clan name: Zhao or     Given name: Zheng 

King of the Qin state: Dates of reign:July 246  BC–221BC         QinOfficial title: King of Qin 

Emperor of the Qin Dynasty: Dates of reign: 221 BC–210B       COfficial title: First Emperor
 
Division and politics
Qin Shi Huang and his Prime Minister Li Si completely abolished feudalism in an attempt to avoid a recurrence of the political chaos of the Warring States Period. He abolished the states, which prevented them from being independent nations of states. Then the the empire was divided into 36 commandership, later increasing to 40 commanderships. The system was implemented that the whole of China was divided into administrative units of firstly commanderships, then districts, then counties then hundred-family units. The system was characterized by tight alliance and federations. 
 
Economy
Economically, Qin Shi Huang and Li Si unified China by standardizing the Chinese units of measurement, such as weights and measures, currency, and the length of the axles of carts, in an attempt to facilitate transport on roads. In order to improve trade among various regions, he developed an extensive network of roads and canals connecting the provinces. The currencies of different provinces were also standardized to the Banliang coin. Most importantly, the Chinese script was unified to form one language, and one communication system for the whole of China.
 
The North Great Wall
The North Great WallThe Qin fought nomadic tribes from the north and the northwest. The campaign was essentially inconclusive, although the Xiongnu tribes were subdued. Thus, in order to prevent the Xiongnu tribes from encroaching on the northern frontier any longer, the emperor ordered the construction of an immense defensive wall. Today very few sections of the original great wall built by the first emperor survive since the original one fell into ruin centuries ago.
 
South: Ling Canal
A well-known quote said “The North has the Great Wall, the South has the Ling Canal”. In 214 BC, the Emperor began the construction of the canal project to transport supplies to the army. The 34km canal, linking the Xiang River which flows into the Yangtze river, and the Li River which flows into the Pearl River, allowed water transport between north and south China. The construction is one of the three great feats of Chinese engineering, the other two being the Great Wall and the Sichuan Dujiangyan Irrigation System. 
 
The End of the Hundred Schools of Thought
The previous Warring States era was considered the golden age of free thought due to the existence of various states. After the unification of China, Qin Shi Huang eliminated the Hundred Schools of Thought, then legalism became the endorsed ideology of the Qin dynasty. Legalism required people to follow the laws or be punished accordingly. 
 
The Book Burning period
Beginning in 213 BC, Qin Shi Huang ordered most previously existing books burned. Those owning the Book of Songs and Book of History as well as texts of the hundred schools were severely punished. Some 460 scholars were buried alive in the following years.
 
Other achievements
After the unification, Qin Shi Huang moved out of Xianyang Palace and began building the gigantic Epang Palace which is located by the south of the Wei River. Other achievements, such as the 12 Bronze Colossi, were made from collected weapons.
 

Origin of Huangdi:

Huangdi
HuangdiHuang-di, or the Yellow Emperor, is a legendary Chinese sovereign and cultural hero who is considered in Chinese mythology to be the ancestor of all Han Chinese. Among his many accomplishments, Huangdi has been credited with the invention of the principles of Traditional Chinese medicine. The Huangdi Neijing (Inner Canon of Huangdi) was supposedly composed in collaboration with his physician Qibo. However, modern historiographers generally consider it to have been compiled from ancient sources by a scholar living between the Zhou and Han dynasties, more than 2,000 years later.
 
Origin of Huangdi
"Huang Di", a title addressed by people in ancient times, originated from "San Huang and Wu Di" which means three emperors and five monarchs. The three emperors refer to the Emperor of Heaven, Emperor of Earth, and Emperor of Human Beings.They are three leading figures in an ancient legend. "Di" in "Five Di" here refers to the ruler of everything in the universe.He has supreme power and is called Tian Di, one of the five monarchs mentioned above. Later the chaos of war broke out among different countries who honored themselves respectively as Xi Di (Monarch in the West), Dong Di (Monarch in the East), Zhong Di (Monarch in the Middle), and Bei Di (Monarch in the North).  
Therefore the title "Di" in the legend came to the world, and became the divine address of a king. Some people say "Di" refers to Huang Di, Yan Di and Chi Yao.
When Ying Zheng, the founder of the Qin Dynasty, unified the whole country, he considered himself to be one who made a larger contribution than "San Huang and Wu Di", the three emperors and five monarchs, and thus honored himself with a combined title of "Hung and Di", namely, Huang Di. After that, the emperor of each dynasty was addressed as Hung Di.

Importance
Huangdi is considered to be the founder of Chinese civilization as well as its first ancestor. As the Yellow Emperor he is remembered as having done many great things. Former Residence of HuangdiHe coined bronze money, practiced medicine, invented boats, raised silk-worms and divided his realm into provinces. The Yellow Emperor has been much praised by later generations for his remarkable achievements; therefore, he has been reputed as the "primogenitor of civilization" of the Chinese nation. He lived about four thousand years ago, during the time of patriarchal clan community, and was the mystical chief of one of the strongest tribes in the middle valley of the Yellow River. During this period many tribes came to settle around the reaches of the Yellow River engaging in farming. The different tribes clashed with each other over land disputes as each tribe sought to have more farmland. Since the constant warring caused much suffering to the people, Huangdi decided to put an end to this chaotic situation. He worked out a moral code and trained his army. With his army, after fighting 56 battles against other tribes, Huangdi conquered a wide area along the Yellow River and was made chief of the tribal union.

Gunpowder:

Another great invention of the Chinese is gunpowder. Known as "Blazing Medicine" in Chinese, gunpowder is made by three kinds of ancient folk medicine: saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal.
 
The prevailing academic consensus is that gunpowder was discovered in the 9th century by Chinese alchemists searchingGunpowder for an elixir of immortality. The discovery of gunpowder was probably the product of centuries of alchemical experimentation. Since the Qin Dynasty, people have been using saltpeter and sulfur to make drugs. The substances once exploded accidentally, the drug makers were astonishingly inspired, so they tested many times in order to carry out effective explosions. An outstanding technician in the Three Kingdom Period, Ma Jun, made a kind of firecracker toy by packing gunpowder inside a piece of paper. It was the first true application of gunpowder. During the latter years of the Tang Dynasty, gunpowder began to serve the military field. Later, gunpowder was packed in sphere shape and tied up at the front end of an arrow, and then shot out. In the Song Dynasty, gunpowder was packed into a bamboo barrel, and a directional stick was stuck in the back of it. The stick ignited the barrel and made it shoot out. This device was the first rocket. Chinese guns were made according to a similar principle.

Gunpowder is the mother of modern firearms and weaponry.

One of the earliest European references to gunpowder is found in Roger Bacon's “Epistola de secretis operibus artiis et naturae” from 1267. However, the very first time gunpowder was used in the Western world for military purposes was in 1262, when king Alfonso X of Castile set siege to the city of Niebla in Spain, whose Spanish-Arab inhabitants used some sort of primitive gun against the Spaniards. The 15th through 17th century saw widespread development in gunpowder technology, mainly in Europe. Advances in metallurgy led to portable weapons and the development of hand-held firearms such as muskets. Cannon technology in Europe gradually outpaced that of China and these technological improvements transferred back to China through Jesuit missionaries who were put in charge of cannon manufacture by the late Ming and early Qing emperors.

Shot and gunpowder for military purposes were made by skilled military tradesmen, who later were called firemakers, and who also were required to make fireworks for celebrations of victory or peace. During the Renaissance, two European schools of pyrotechnic thought emerged, one in Italy and the other at Nürnberg, Germany. The Italian school of pyrotechnics emphasized elaborate fireworks, and the German school stressed scientific advancement. Both schools added significantly to further development of pyrotechnics, and by the mid-17th century fireworks were used for entertainment on an unprecedented scale in Europe, being popular even at resorts and public gardens. At the same time some military men were disguising gray in their beards by dusting them with gunpowder, as the antiquary John Aubrey noted in his memoranda.

 

Chinese Buddhism:

Arrival along the Silk Road
The establishment of the Baimasi (White Horse Temple) by Emperor Ming (58–75 B.C.) of the Han marked the introduction of Buddhism into China.Their arrival in 67 B.C. marks Buddhism's official introduction inWhite Horse Temple China. Historians generally agree that by the middle of the 1st century A.D., the religion had penetrated to areas north of the Huai River. Emperor Ming's brother Liu Ying the Prince of Chu was the first high-profile believer of Buddhism, although there is some evidence that Emperor Ming himself might have been as well.
 
The first documented translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese occurs in 148 B.C. with the arrival of the Parthian missionary An Shih Kao in China, probably on the heels of the Kushan expansion into the Tarim Basin. An Shi Kao established Buddhist temples in Loyang and organized the translation of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, testifying to the beginning of a wave of Central Asian Buddhist proselytism that was to last several centuries. Traces of Buddhist iconography can also be seen in works of art from this period.
 
Mahayana Buddhism was first propagated into China by Kushan Lokaksema, the first translator of Mahayana sutras into Chinese. By the end of the second century, a prosperous community had been settled at Pengcheng (modern Xuzhou, Jiangsu).
 
Buddhist Scenic Areas in China
Four Famous Buddhist Mountains
Wutai Mountain: Manjusri Bodhisattva Buddhist Field
The Wutai Mountain is situated in the north of Shanxi Province and is 230 km from Taiyuan City. It is noted for its graceful alpine natural landscapes and resplendent Buddhist culture and arts. ThereWutai Mountain are a large number of Buddhist temples in the mountain.
 
Putuo Mountain: Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva Buddhist Field
The Putuo Mountain boasts a length of about 8600 m and a width of about 500 m,
and covers an area of 12.5 sq km. There are exotic and ancient stone caves and numerous Buddhist temples on the mountain.
 
Emei Mountain: Samntabhadra Bodhisattva Buddhist Field
The Emei Mountian is located at the southwest edge of the Sichuan Basin. It is meandering in appearance "like a woman's curved eyebrow on a broad forehead", which is thin, long, beautiful and unique, whence its name came. It is towering, tall and straight, and as graceful as an eyebrow, Reputed as "the grandest and most graceful in the southwest", the Emei Mountain has been listed in the World's Heritage Records by UNESCO.
 
Jiuhuashan Mountain: Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva Buddhist Field
The Jiuhua Mountain is located within the borders of Qingyang County, Anhui Province, reputed as "the first mountain in the southeast". There are numerous streams, waterfalls, exotic stones, ancient caves, grey pines, emerald bamboos, deep ponds, scenic areas and historic sites in the mountain.
 
Buddist Grottoes and Cliffside Statues
Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes
The Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes are located at the mouth of a precipice at the east foot of the Singing Sand (Mingsha), twenty- five kilometers southeast of Dunhuang City. The grotto preserves 492 grottos, 45000Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes sq m of wall paintings and 2415 colored sculptures of ten dynasties In 1987, the Mogao Grottoes were listed in the World's Heritage Records by UNESCO.
 
Longmen Grottoes
The Longmen Grotto are located along the Yi River twelve kilometers south of Luoyang City. There are more than 2100 grotto niches containing now more than 100,000  statues of Buddha, more than 3,600 inscribed steles and more than 40 Buddhist pagodas.
 
Yungang Grottoes
The Yungang Grottoes are  located at the foot of the Wuzhou Mountain 10km from Datong City, Shanxi Province. There are mainly 53 grottoes and more than 50,000 statues  in the Yungang Grottoes.
 
Duzu Stone Carvings
The Dazu Stone Carvings are in Duzu County of Chongqing City, 130 km away from the center of Chongqing City. The Duzu Stone Carvings have more than 50,000 cliffside statues. They are well-known for their extensive subject matter, rich content and exquisite craftsmanship.

Leshan Grand Buddha
The Leshan Grand Buddha is at the foot of the Lingyun Mountain to the east of Leshan City and at the confluence of the Minjiang River, the Qingyijiang River and the Dadu River, in Sichuan province. It has been listed in the World's Heritage Records by UNESCO. The Grand Buddha is the largest stone-carved statue of Buddha in the world. It is 71 m in total height, 28 m in the width of the shoulder, 14.7 m in the height of the head, 7 m in the length of the ears and 5.6 m in the length of the nose. The space in the ear can hold two standing people and the instep can seat more than 100 people around it.

 
Influence
Today the most popular form of Buddhism in both mainland China and Taiwan is a mix of the Pure Land and Chan schools. More recent surveys put the total number of Chinese Buddhists between 660 millionMonks in Hainan (50%) and  over 1 billion (80%), thus making China the country with the most Buddhist adherents in the world, followed by Japan. However, it is difficult to estimate accurately the number of Buddhists in China since they did not have congregational memberships and often do not participate in public ceremonies. Many people practice Buddhism and Taoism at the same time.

The 108-metre-high Guanyin Buddha Statue of Hainan, the world's tallest, was enshrined on April 24, 2005, with the participation of 108 eminent monks from various Buddhist groups in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macao and Mainland China, and tens of thousands of pilgrims. The delegation also included monks from the Theravada and Vajrayana traditions.

Buddhism is tacitly supported by the government. China is one of the countries which has many of the world's highest Buddhist statues. In April 2006, China organized the World Buddhist Forum and in March 2007, the government banned mining on Buddhist sacred mountains. In May of the same year, in Changzhou, the world's tallest pagoda was built and opened. In March 2008, the Taiwan-based Tzu Chi Foundation was approved to open a branch in mainland China.

 

Wu Zetian:

Wu Zetian
Wu Zetian (personal name Wu Zhao) often referred to as Tian Hou during the Tang Dynasty and Empress Consort Wu in later times,was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant. As de facto ruler of China first through her husband and her sons from 665 to 690, not unprecedented in Chinese history, she then broke all precedents when she founded her own dynasty in 690, the Zhou, and ruled personally under the name Sacred and Divine Empress Regnant and variations thereof from 690 to 705.

Wu ZetianHer rise and reign has been criticized harshly by Confucian historians but has been viewed under a different light after the 1950s. Although short-lived, the Zhou Dynasty, according to some historians, resulted in better equality between the sexes during the succeeding Tang Dynasty. Considering the events of her life, literary allusions to Wu Zetian can carry several connotations: a woman who has inappropriately overstepped her bounds, the hypocrisy of preaching compassion while simultaneously engaging in a pattern of corrupt and vicious behavior, and ruling by pulling strings in the background. For many centuries, Wu was used by the Chinese establishment as an example of what can go wrong when a woman is placed in charge.


Around 698, Wu Chengsi and another nephew of Wu Zetian's, Wu Sansi the Prince of Liang, were repeatedly making attempts to have officials persuade Wu Zetian to create one of them crown prince -- again citing the reason that an emperor should pass the throne to someone of the same clan. However, Di Renjie, who by now had become a trusted chancellor, was firmly against the idea and instead proposed that Li Zhe be recalled. He was supported in this by fellow chancellors Wang Fangqing and Wang Jishan, as well as Wu Zetian's close advisor Ji Xu, who further persuaded the Zhang brothers to support the idea as well. In spring 698, Wu Zetian agreed and recalled Li Zhe from exile. Soon, Li Dan offered to yield the crown prince position to Li Zhe, and Wu Zetian created Li Zhe crown prince, and soon changed his name back to Li Xian and then Wu Xian.

 

Meanwhile, as per the peace treaty with Eastern Tujue, Wu Zetian sent her grandnephew Wu Yanxiu to Eastern Tujue to marry one of Ashina Mochuo's daughters -- but Ashina Mochuo had no actual intention to cement the treaty with a marriage; instead, when Wu Yanxiu arrived, he detained Wu Yanxiu and then launched a major attack on Zhou, advancing as far south as Zhao Prefecture before withdrawing. In 699, however, at least the Tufan threat would cease. The Tufan king, Dus-rong Mang-po-rje, unhappy that Lun Qinling was monopolizing power, took an opportunity, when Lun Qinling was away from the capital Lhasa, to slaughter Lun Qinling's associates. He then defeated Lun Qinling in battle, and Lun Qinling committed suicide. Lun Zanpo and Lun Qinling's son Lun Gongren surrendered to Zhou. After this, Tufan was under internal turmoil for several years, and there was peace for Zhou on the Tufan border.

 

Also in 699, Wu Zetian, realizing that she was growing old, feared that after her death, Li Xian and the Wu clan princes would not be able to have peace with each other, and she made him, Li Dan, Princess Taiping, Princess Taiping's second husband Wu Youji (a nephew of hers) the Prince of Ding, as well as other Wu clan princes, swear an oath to each other.
 

Deng Xiaoping:

Inheriting a China wrought with social and institutional woes left over from the devastating Cultural Revolution and other mass political movements of the Mao era, Deng Deng_Xiaopingwas the core of the second generation Chinese leadership. He was instrumental in introducing a new brand of socialist thinking, having developed Socialism with Chinese characteristics and Chinese economic reform (also known as the socialist market economy) and partially opened China to the global market. He is generally credited with advancing China into becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world and vastly raising the standard of living. For this achievement he is sometimes known as "The Venerated Deng".
 
Economic Reforms and Opening Up
The new, pragmatic leadership after Mao emphasized economic development and renounced mass political movements. At the pivotal Third Plenum of the 11th CCP Congress, opened on 22 December 1978, the leadership adopted economic reform policies known as the Four Modernizations. These tenets aimed at expanding rural income and incentives, encouraging experiments in enterprise autonomy, reducing central planning, and establishing direct foreign investment in Mainland China. The Plenum also decided to accelerate the pace of legal reform, culminating in the passage of several new legal codes by the National People's Congress in June 1979.
The goals of Deng's reforms were summed up by the Four Modernizations: the modernization of agriculture, industry, science and technology, as well as the military. The strategy for achieving these aims, all of which were designed to help China become a modern, industrial nation, was "socialism with Chinese characteristics". It opened a new era in Chinese history known as "Reforms and Opening Up to the Outside World.”
Deng championed the idea of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), areas where foreign investment would be allowed toEconomic Reforms and Opening Up pour in without strict government restraint and regulations, running on a basically capitalist system. Deng laid emphasis on light industry as a stepping stone to the development of heavy industries. Supporters of the economic reforms point to the rapid development of the consumer and export sectors of the economy, the creation of an urban middle class that now constitutes 15% of the population, higher living standards (which is shown via dramatic increases in GDP per capita, consumer spending, life expectancy, literacy rate, and total grain output) and a much wider range of personal rights and freedoms for average Chinese as evidence of the success of the reforms.

Papermaking:

The invention of papermaking is a great contribution to the world's cultural development and international communication.
Papermaking has traditionally been traced to China about 105 AD, when Cai Lun, an official of the Han Dynasty (202 BCPapermaking-220 AD), created a sheet of paper using mulberry and other bast fibers along with fishnets, old rags, and hemp waste. However, a recent archaeological discovery has been reported from near Dunhuang of paper with writing on it dating from 8 BC, while paper had been used in China for wrapping and padding since the 2nd century BC. Paper used as a writing medium became widespread by the 3rd century. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) paper was folded and sewn into square bags to preserve the flavor of tea, while the later Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD) was the first government on Earth to issue paper-printed money. Modern papermaking began in the early 1800s in Europe with the development of the Fourdrinier machine, which produces a continuous roll of paper rather than individual sheets.
The paper making technique was introduced to Korea and Japan in the 7th century and the Arab World in the 8th. In the 12th century, the Europeans began to adopt this technique.

Chinese Christianity:

Arrival in China
As early as the year 635 A.D., Christianity had been introduced into China by way of Persian. However, since it failed to take deep root in the society and culture of China, Christianity had not been well developed all theChristianity in China time and even disappeared more than once. During the 19th century, Christianity was once again introduced into China from the West. Since the preaching activities were under the protection of unequal treaty of great powers, the church was controlled by the Missionary Society and Christianity was despised and called "foreign religion" by Chinese people in China. In 1949, there werearound only 700,000 believers in China. 
 
Chinese Christian Churches
The two mainstream sects of Christianity all have churches in China. The church of Catholicism is also called the Catholic Church and the church of Protestantism is also called Side Chapel.
 
Beijing Southern Church
This is the oldest Catholic church  in Beijing,located at the Xuanwu Gate of Beijing City. It was built in 1605 and later went through ruin then repair for several times. The existing ancient stele and  the 4-metre high iron cross are relics of the old church built in the Ming Dynasty.
 
Beijing Northern Church
Located in the Xisheku Street in Beijing, this is a Catholic church in the style of Gothic architecture.
 
Beijing Chongwen Gate Church
This is the first church established by Protestantism in Beijing. It was originally called Yalisi Church and took its present name in 1982. When American presidents pay visits to China, they sometimes take part in religious activities here.
 
Shanghai Xujiahui Church
Located in Xuhui District of Shanghai City, it is the largest Catholic Church in the style of Roman architecture in Shanghai. Local people in Shanghai call it Xujiahui Catholic Church.
Shanghai International Side Chapel
Located in the Xuhui District of Shanghai City, it is a church of Protestantism.
 
Guangzhou Shengxin Grand Church
Located on Yide Road of Guangzhou City, it is a Catholic church and the tallest Gothic building in the country.
 
Influence
For the past over twenty years or more, under the lead of the two Christian societies of the country (namely China Christian Three-self Patriotic Movement Committee and China Christian Association), all the undertakingsChinese Christianity of Chinese Christianity have developed vigorously. The whole country has now opened nearly 50,000 churches, of which 70% are newly built. The total number of Christians has exceeded 16 million, of which those in rural areas account for more than 70%.Up to the present, the whole country has 18 theological seminaries and Bible colleges, of which the Jinling Xiehe Theological Seminary is a national theological seminary. Each college has nearly 5,000 theological graduates, who are distributed in churches in all parts of the country or who serve in theological colleges.

 

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